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An Easy Guide to Introduce Slice of Life Writing

Two brave sixth grade teachers asked me to come in and introduce Slice of Life writing to their students. They are ready to embark on a weekly blogging adventure.

Introduce the Genre with Mentors

I started by reading aloud two of my own Slice of Life Stories. After I read each story I asked the students: What did you notice? I recorded their thinking and we created a list of characteristics.

A Slice of Life Story…

  • is about one small thing
  • is memoir-ish because it is about something that matters to you
  • is short
  • is full of details
  • contains dialogue
  • makes the reader feel an emotion

I was jotting their responses in my Writer’s Notebook

Then we simply sent them off to write.

Share Stories and Revisit the Criteria
I came back the next day to hear some of the students share their Slice of Life stories. Owen wrote about the day he got his new dog, and Bella shared a hilarious story about her crazy cat. After each student shared, we checked their writing against our criteria. Was it about one small thing? Yep! Did Owen write about something that matters to him? Yep!

Plan Ahead
Simply by listening to student conversations and watching them as they wrote, the teachers and I have already seen some potential obstacles. We are planning our next few Slice of Life minilessons. 

  • how to begin a Slice of Life Story
  • collecting ideas for Slice of Life Stories
  • what a Slice of Life Story is not

I liked this process for introducing the genre of Slice of Life writing. It is effective, no frills, and gets the kids writing right away.


Dana Murphy View All

Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer

7 thoughts on “An Easy Guide to Introduce Slice of Life Writing Leave a comment

  1. Would doing a “generating ideas” graphic organizer help? Do that at the beginning of the year and tape in the front of the kids’ writer’s notebooks? We use Caulkins and the categories are people/pets that are important to us, special places, firsts/lasts/important events,and strong feelings. But there are many categories to use! We fill this organizer in one box at a time with teacher modeling her/his box and then kids fill in ideas/events in that box and then sharing out. This helps give other kids ideas too. Then the next box. When done, kids have lots of ideas to refer back to. Thanks for doing this. Can’t wait to get my kids going.


    • Yes, most of our students use lists similar to that as well. In this particular case of Slice of Life writing, the teachers and I are actually aiming for students to not choose from a list of topics per say, but rather to look for those moments in their life they want to capture. We are hoping they will begin to live like writers, noticing moments in their lives that are seeds for writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dana- I love how to the point you are here. I shared your post with teachers and told them that if anyone wanted me to come in and lead a minilesson about slice of life (aka small moment) writing, I’d do it. Already have plans to go into 3 classrooms! And you are so right that what comes up in this session will give teachers ideas for future minilessons.


    • I love this idea of introducing SOL. I am looking forward to having my Ss focus their writing by narrowing the vision. We started blogging this week, well just dabbling now, and SOL will be a perfect task. Thanks for this post.


  3. I teach a 6-week (one mini-morning a week for six weeks) memoir writing class to adults at public libraries throughout Iowa, and I LOVE this post. I believe a good teaching technique works with any age – and the technique you outlined is better than good. It’s great.Thanks.


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